Southern CA voters should demand a stop to HSR now



Our northern neighbors are taking an initiative that we should emulate in CA. Specifically they are concerned about a cost overrun on the deep bore tunnel in Seattle in which the state of Washington is telling the taxpayers living in Seattle that all costs are theirs to bear. As a result, recognizing the financial challenges that they face, activists calling themselves Protect Seattle Now have concluded a petition drive and released the following statement today.

Note:  In our state we were misled by the HSRA when voting to approve the CA high-speed rail project. Ridership numbers, projected ticket costs and initial segment stations have all fallen off a cliff yet they continue to press ahead with this “special interest” transportation project. Having received their after the vote (Business Plan) report perhaps we should place a stop order on the November Ballot calling for a reconsideration.

27,721 Seattleites are ready to vote

By Protect Seattle Now Monday March 28, 2011

The following letter was sent today, March 28, 2011

Dear Mayor McGinn, Councilmember Conlin, Councilmember Clark, Councilmember Harrell, Councilmember Godden, Councilmember O’Brien, Councilmember Bagshaw, Councilmember Licata, Councilmember Burgess, Councilmember Rasmussen, City Attorney Pete Holmes,

Tomorrow the people of Seattle will file a petition with the City Clerk to hold a public vote on the deep bore tunnel project. 27,721 people signed this petition, more than 10 percent of Seattle’s voters. By submitting these signatures, the people of Seattle have earned the right to vote on this risky project. We expect that you will uphold the democratic process and perform your duty as directed in the City Charter by acting quickly to submit the referendum to a vote of the people.

The deep bore tunnel is one of the largest and most expensive infrastructure projects being undertaken anywhere in the United States, and it is likely to have significant cost overruns. Nine out of ten mega-projects go over budget by an average of 30 percent. The State of Washington has insisted that the people of Seattle alone must shoulder the enormous risk of this project and pay those cost overruns, risk that the State itself is unwilling and unable to bear. Seattle cannot afford to pay these costs, especially at a time when our State is forced to scale back essential public services. The people of Seattle have earned the chance to decide for ourselves whether we are willing to accept this risk and pay these costs.

In our City Charter, which you have each taken an oath to uphold, the people expressly reserved for ourselves the right to question the judgment of the Council through a referendum. It is a right that is frequently exercised and, until now, universally respected. We expect you to honor the democratic principles upon which Seattle was founded: that the people are sovereign, and that our right to vote is sacrosanct. We urge you to be true to your oath, and not to elevate your own judgment above that of the people you were elected to serve.

As our elected public servants, you have a responsibility to allow our democracy to function as mandated by the Charter. We ask that each of you pledge by 5 p.m. tomorrow that you will place this referendum on the ballot and not silence the voice of the people of Seattle.


Drew Paxton
Move Seattle Smarter

Elizabeth Campbell
Seattle Citizens Against the Tunnel

Tim Harris
Real Change

Cary Moon
People’s Waterfront Coalition

Morgan Ahouse
Sierra Club, Washington State Chapter

Gary Manca
Friends of Seattle

(206) 257-2252

About Larry Gilbert